“Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by mission and communicating life to others.” Pope Francis in the “Joy of the Gospel”.
” Thanks solely to this encounter – or renewed encounter – with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption. We become fully human when we become more than human, when we allow God to bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. Here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization. For if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?” Pope Francis in the “Joy of the Gospel.
Dear Friends: Once again I would like to share the profound message Pope Francis provides for us in his exhortation, “Joy of the Gospel”. Please read along with me and rejoice in the joy of this message.
” I understand the grief of the people who have to endure great suffering, yet slowly but surely we all have to let the joy of faith slowly revive as a quiet yet firm trust, even amid the greatest distress: ‘My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is…But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness…It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord'” (Lam 3:17, 21-23, 26).
Let us meditate slowly on these words and truly experience the love-kindness of the Lord.
Pope Francis exhorts us to live a joy filled life. Francis first shares a few scriptural examples of gladness and joy. He states: ” In the Acts of the Apostles we read that the first Christians ‘ate their food with glad and generous hearts’ (2:46). Wherever the disciples went, ‘there was great joy’ (8:8); even amid persecution they continued to be ‘filled with joy'(13:52). The newly baptized eunuch ‘went on his way rejoicing’ (8:39), while Paul’s jailer ‘and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God’ (16;34).
And now the pope’s question, “Why should we not also enter into this great stream of joy?
Dear Friends: Once again I have the privilege of sharing another excerpt from the exhortation of the pope “Joy of the Gospel”. It once again is on the “joy” of our salvation in Jesus Christ.
Please read and share your thoughts. Please share if you are touched in some way by it and like it. I’d enjoy hearing from you.
” Perhaps the most exciting invitation is that of the prophet Zephaniah, who presents God with his people in the midst of a celebration overflowing with the joy of salvation. I find it thrilling to reread this text” ‘The Lord, your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives you victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing, as on the day of festival'”(3:17).
” How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mat 18: 22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onward!”
There are a few phrases that really stand out to me. Specifically, “God never tires of forgiving us…”, as well as, “(he) is always capable of restoring our joy…”. I will have to meditate on these more profoundly.
I would like to hear from you. Please share the phrases that stood out to you.
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God Bless, Dr. Nick
“The Lord does not disappoint those who that take this risk (taking a personal encounter with Jesus); whenever we take a step toward Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace.”
The pope beautifully portrays the saving love of Jesus for us even when we fall. Jesus is already there waiting for us.
My sisters and brothers, let us rejoice in the continuous and never ending love of God for us His children.
Please share your thoughts about the love of God in your life. I would really like to hear. Please join the conversation and enter the conversation by entering your email in the top right side of the homepage. It’s free. Also please read the “ABOUT” page. It will help you share in a more beneficial way.
Sincerely, Dr. Nick
Dear Friends: I first want to invite you to join the discussion on this magnificent exhortation by Pope Francis, “Joy of the Gospel”. It is the signature document of his papacy. This document absolutely defines him and the new direction of the church. Make no mistake about this, we are all about to read excerpts from the single most important papal document since the Second Vatican Council.
I am presenting key excerpts from the document and asking you to comment. You simply need to enter your email address in the top right side of the homepage and you are a member. Members can comment on current and future articles and will receive future articles free.
Today’s excerpt is as follows: ” I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”.
I am again fascinated by the bold invitation from the pope to all Christians, not just Catholics. He invites us each day to renew this encounter with Jesus. This is true evangelization. This is an example of how we should act.
Let me hear from you. Are you emboldened by this statement? Do you want to go into your world everyday and witness to Jesus’ saving love for you and for the whole world? Tell me your thoughts.
Sincerely, Dr. Nick
Once again, I am extremely happy to share an excerpt from the papal exhortation and ask you for your thoughts and reactions. Today’s statement is from #2 of the document. It follows:
“Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.”
What are your thoughts? Have you experienced the feeling and loss of the power of God and His Spirit in your life when the human heart and spirit turns into itself and away from the cry of the poor?
I would like to hear from you. If you have read this and have been touched and called to reply, please enroll free in this discussion. You simply need to enter your email address in the upper top right side of the homepage and instantly you are connected. I would also invite you to read the “ABOUT” section. It will assist you in your sharing with the group.
Looking forward to your participation, Dr. Nick
Dear Friends: Over the past three evenings, I selected excerpts from areas of the papal exhortation that appeared interesting to me and which I felt would most likely interest you as well. However, after some thought, it seems more beneficial to proceed from the beginning of the exhortation and work our way through the entire document over the next few months.
It is my hope that our exploration of this beautiful and powerful document will provide spiritual benefits to us as individuals, to our faith communities and to the secular world searching for answers to life’s challenges.
I invite you to join in the conversation. Remember to enter the conversation, you simply need to enter your email address at the top right side of the homepage and “gusto” you are plugged in.
TODAYS EXCERPT IS THE OPENING PARAGRAPH #1
“THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by his joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.”
If I can add my observation, I am encouraged by this statement because the pope is saying that a new moment is being presented to us and to the Church. This new moment is “marked by joy” in evangelization. Amazing!!! The pope is asking us to enter into the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus with a spirit of “joy”. Our evangelization is not another thing to do or a chore to be embarked upon in our Christian journey. NO!!! Quite the opposite. If we enter this new moment with a spirit of joyfulness, the Spirit can increase in us and others the joy of the Lord and conversion to Jesus.
Love to hear from you. God Bless, Dr. Nick